2000 New York Auto Show, Part I Page 3

April 20, 2000

SPIKING IT. Jaguar’s got a new ad man, the hip and oft-controversial filmmaker, Spike Lee. The director’s new company, 40 Acres and a Mule, will be doing some rather different creative projects for the British marque, starting with an eight-minute film directed by Lee himself. It’s aimed at a minority audience, a critical buying segment as Jaguar expands, said the automaker’s new U.S. chief, Mike O’Driscoll. Plans call for almost quadrupling Jaguar’s American sales by mid-decade, and "If we’re going to do that, we need to communicate with a much younger, a much broader and a much more diverse audience."

TWO FOR THE ROAD? Look for an even smaller BMW line, now that the German maker has sold off its British Rover brand. Board Member Helmut Panke confirmed a long-rumored 2-Series model is under development, with introduction likely before 2004. Actually, BMW would prefer not to use the number "2" to designate the new series, but that seems to be the number sticking with the public and the global automotive press. Though a good bit smaller than the mainline 3-Series, the 2 will come to the U.S. market, Panke revealed.

BMW 330xi

BMW 330xi

THREE TO GET READY. Closer to production are two of three BMW vehicles that made their U.S. debut in New York on Wednesday. The 330i features BMW’s all-new, in-line 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine, a powertrain pumping out a sporty 225 hp. For those who want to maximize grip, there’s a new, all-wheel-drive version, the 330xi, as well. If maximum performance is your passion, BMW also lifted the veil on the latest incarnation of the sporty M3. Its 3.2-liter powerplant boasts an estimated 330 hp, 90 more than the last generation M3, and enough to set you on course for a 5.0 second 0-60 launch. There’s no mistaking the new M3, with its 18-inch wheels and distinctive styling "gills" on the front fenders. Even more of a visual standout is the Z9 sports car, which received its American debut in the Big Apple. This high-touch/high-tech four-seater features an array of high-end technology, including voice or touch-controlled Internet access. The Z9’s unusual entry system features a dual-function door. It can open normally or, if you want to ease access to the rear seats, it yawns wide as a gull-wing door. There are no plans to put the Z9, or the door system, into production — at least for now.

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